Nebraska water law is on a collision course with reality. Nebraska judges and water policy makers have ignored the hydrologic connection between surface water and tributary groundwater, the groundwater that provides the stream’s base flow. The basic premise of this article is that the use of tributary groundwater must be integrated into surface water law. Fortunately, in response to federal and interstate requirements, much of the needed legislative action has been taken. But judicial steps must also be taken to complete the legal framework for integrating tributary groundwater into the appropriation system. This article focuses on how western courts have dealt with disputes over interrelated surface water and groundwater. Part II deals with hydrologic dimensions and related water uses. Parts III and IV deal with early groundwater and tributary groundwater decisions of English courts and American courts in eastern states. Part V deals with selected groundwater and tributary groundwater decisions from western states. Part VI deals with the evolving Nebraska law which regulates conflicts over the use of interrelated surface water and groundwater.
J. David Aiken,
The Western Common Law of Tributary Groundwater: Implications for Nebraska,
83 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol83/iss2/9